Home » Ernest Hemingway » The Life of Ernest Miller Hemingway

The Life of Ernest Miller Hemingway

There were several writers in the twentieth century, and among them was Ernest Miller Hemingway. Hemingway had a interesting, but strange life. By analyzing and exploring the literature and biographies of Ernest Hemingway, one will be able to understand the life of Ernest Hemingway and see the major contributions he had to literature. He was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway was born in the Hemingway family home, which was built by his grandfather Ernest Hall. He was the second child out of six, that were born to Clarence and Grace Hemingway. He had four sisters and one brother.

He was named after his mother’s father Ernest Hall and his great uncle Miller Hall. The area Ernest grew up in was a very conservative area of Illinois. It was the opposite of Chicago which was liberal. Hemingway was raised with values of strong religion, hard work, physical fitness and self determination. He was taught that if he went by these values in life, he would do good in whatever he did. When he was little, his father taught him to hunt and fish around the Lake Michigan area. Ernest’s family had a summer house on a place called Walloon Lake in north Michigan, and the family would spent their summer there.

When he was at the summerhouse, Hemingway would fish in the streams that ran into the lake, or take the little row boat on the lake to fish. He would also go squirrel hunting in the woods near the summer house. He liked to be by himself because he could think. Nature is what inspired Ernest to create some of his greatest works. Even though Ernest liked nature, he often lived in major cities like Chicago, Toronto and Paris, but when he became successful he chose more isolated places to live like Key West, Cuba, or Ketchum, Idaho. Wherever he lived, he made sure he had access to hunting and fishing.

When he wasn’t hunting or fishing his mother taught him about music. His mother was a singer who once had thought about a professional career, but she chose to settle down with her husband instead. She occupied her time by giving voice and music lessons to local children. Sometimes she gave her own kids lessons. Hemingway never really liked music and he hated choir practices and cello lessons. Even though he didn’t like music a lot, it helped him with his first wife, Hadley because she liked the piano. Hemingway went to school in the Oak Park public school system. In high school he was okay at sports.

He played football, swimming, water basketball and was the track team manager. He liked to also work on the high school newspaper called the Trapeze, where he wrote his first articles. He imitated the style of writer Ring Lardner who wrote with a sense of humor. Hemingway graduated high school in 1917 but instead of going to college like his parents wanted him to, he took a job as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. His uncle was responsible for him getting the job, because he knew the top editor. While Hemingway worked for the Kansas City Star he learned about how to write, and it showed in his later works of fiction.

The newspaper advocated short sentences, short paragraphs, active verbs, authenticity, compression, clarity and immediacy. Hemingway later said: “Those were the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing. I’ve never forgotten them” (Young 36). The same time Ernest was graduating, World War I had started in Europe. Even though President Wilson tried to keep the US out of the war, they helped other countries in the fight against Germany and Austria. When Hemingway turned eighteen he tried to enlist in the army, but they turned him away because of poor vision. He had a bad eye like his mother.

When he heard the Red Cross wanted volunteers for ambulance drivers he quickly signed up. The Red Cross accepted him so he left his job at the paper in 1918 and went to Europe in May. Hemingway first went to Paris when he got to Europe, then he went tp Milan. The day he arrived, a firearms factory exploded and he had to carry nasty bodies and body parts to a temporary morgue. Two days after that he was sent to an ambulance unit in a place called Schio, where he worked driving ambulances. A few weeks after arriving, he was hurt by pieces of a Austrian mortar shell that landed a few feet away from him.

Hemingway was distributing chocolate and cigarettes to Italian soldiers when this happened. The explosion knocked Hemingway unconscious, killed one soldier and blew the legs off another one. After the explosion happened, historians aren’t exactly sure what happened next because Ernest sometimes lied. In a letter to Hemingway’s father another ambulance driver wrote that even though there was over 200 pieces of metal from the mortar shell in his legs he carried another injured soldier back to the first aid station. He also said that on the way Ernest was hit in the legs by bullets. In the hospital Ernest met one of his first loves.

Her name was Agnes Hannah von Kurowsky and she was a twenty-six year old nurse who took care of Ernest while he was injured. Ernest really liked Agnes since he first saw her and it seemed like she liked him too, but that’s not what she said later in a letter to him. The letter said : ” Now, after a couple of months away from you, I know that I am still very fond of you, but, it is more as a mother than as a sweetheart. ” Hemingway wanted to marry her, but she said because of the age difference she thought he wasn’t mature enough. Plus she talked to other men. When Ernest left the hospital he wrote letters to her.

Hemingeway was given the Italian Silver Medal for Valor. The words on the medal read: “Gravely wounded by numerous pieces of shrapnel from an enemy shell, with an admirable spirit of brotherhood, before taking care of himself, he rendered generous assistance to the Italian soldiers more seriously wounded by the same explosion and did not allow himself to be carried elsewhere until after they had been evacuated” (Baker 54). Hemingway’s wounding along the Piave River in Italy and his subsequent recovery at a hospital in Milan, including the relationship with his nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, all inspired his great novel A Farewell To Arms.

When Hemingway went home from Italy in 1919 he thought that Oak Park wasn’t as fun as it used to be and it was more boring now compared to being around the war. He was only nineteen years old, but the war had made him more mature. HIs parents didn’t really like the fact that he had went over seas to the war, so living with them was hard on Ernest. After he came home his parents began to pressure him to find work or go back to college. He had received more than a thousand dollars from insurance for his war injuries, so because that was a lot of money back then he didn’t have to work for about a year.

He lived at his parent’s house and spent his time reading. Ernest went around town talking to people about how war was and when they asked him to tell about his experiences he lied to make the people happy. His story “Soldier’s Home” talks about how he felt bad when he came home because people didn’t really know what happened in war, so they didn’t know that the war had affects on his mind. The last time Ernest spoke in public was very important. It was important to Hemingway not because of what he said but because of who heard it. Harriett Connable, the wife of an executive for the Woolworth’s company in Toronto was listening.

When he started talking Ms. Harriett noticed the differences between Hemingway and her son. Hemingway was healthy and strong and her son was frail and handicapped byhis right arm and spent most of his time inside. Harriett Connable thought her son needed someone to show him the some fun and Hemingway seemed like a good person to help her son while she and her husband took a vacation in Florida. She asked Ernest if he would do it, and he said yes. When Ernest took the little job, he got to write and work for the Toronto Star Weekly. Hemingway wrote for the Star Weekly even when he moved to Chicago in 1920.

When he lived at one of his friend’s house he met Hadley Richardson and they fell in love. They got married in 1921. In the same year the same year Hemingway took an offer to work with the Toronto Daily Star as its European correspondent. Ernest and Hadley got to go to Paris where literature was being changed by writers like Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and Ford Maddox Ford. So he got to do stories on them. The Hemingways got to Paris on December 22, 1921 and later they moved into their first apartment. It was a dirty apartment that didn’t have any running water and the bathroom was really a closet with a bucket inside.

Hadley wasn’t really used to living in bad conditions. They could have got a nicer apartment because they had about $3,000 for a income. That was pretty good for those times. Ernest rented a separate apartment so he could write. Ernest made a lot of friends in Paris and some of them were famous writers and painters. These friendships would later help him out when he was becoming a writer. Ernest wrote about a lot of stuff for the paper including the Geneva Conference, the Greco-Turkish War, the Luasanne Conference and the post war convention in the Ruhr Valley (.

He also wrote about non political issues. Just as Ernest was beginning to make a name for himself, he found out that Hadley was pregnant with their first child. They wanted the baby to be born in North America where the doctors were better, so they left Paris in 1923 and moved to Toronto, where he still got to write for the Toronto Daily Star and wait for their child to arrive. John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway was born on October 10, 1923 and when he was almost one, they moved back to Paris where Hemingway would finish making a name for himself.

Hemingway got a chance to edit the Transatlantic Review. The owner of the Transatlantic Review, Moore Ford published some of his stories, including “Indian Camp” and “Cross Country Snow” and generally really liked him. The magazine only lasted untitl 1925, but it gave Ernest a chance to do some writing. From 1925 to 1929 Hemingway produced some of the most important works of 20th century fiction, including the a short story collection “In Our Time” which had “The Big Two-Hearted River” in it. In 1926 he came out with his first real novel, The Sun Also Rises .

He then came out with a new book called “Men Without Women” and that was famous because of the short stories “The Killers” and “In Another Country. ” In 1929 he published A Farewell to Arms, and a lot of historians think that that was his best work and one of the most important ones to come from the World War I times. In four years he went from being an unknown writer to being the most important writer of his time, ans even still to this day people like him. Hemingway would write about stuff like theories.

He said that only 1/8 of a iceberg can be seen above water, and the rest of it is in the sea, and from tthings like that he could get story ideas. Some more of his works are “Soldier’s Home,” “Indian Camp,” “A Very Short Story,” “My Old Man” and the “Big Two-Hearted River. ” “Big Two Hearted River”would lead up to Hemingway working for Scribner’s magazine. Scribner’s published Torrents in 1925, and then later put out his other novel The Sun Also Rises. A lot of people didn’t really like The Sun Also Rises. It was about love in Paris and Spain, and it talked about bullfighting.

He was doing real good as a writer but his personal life was getting bad. He divorced his first wife Hadley in 1927 and married Pauline Pfeiffer in the same year. She was sometimes the fashion reporter for Vanity Fair and Vogue. In 1928 Ernest and Pauline left Paris to go to Key West, Florida so they could start there new life together. They lived there for about twelve years, and Ernest really liked it because he could write and fish and hunt. That same year Ernest’s father committed suicide. His father had some mental problems and health problems. He had diabetes, angina and migraines.

And with all this he had financial problems to make things worse. So, his father shot himself in the head. Ernest went back to Oak Park to make the funeral arrangemnets. Pauline was pregnant at the time and on June 28, 1928 she gave birth to Patrick (Reynolds 13). Even through all this drama, Ernest finished working on A Farewell to Arms, and he finished itin January of 1929. In 1931 Pauline gave birth to Gregory, their second son together, and the last child they had. After A Farewell to Arms Hemingway published his bullfighting book called Death in the Afternoon.

While writing an encyclopedic book on bullfighting he made it interesting enough for people who didn’t really care about reading it to read. He talks about the Spanish culture, writers, food, people, politics, history, and other stuff. Ernest wrote this about why he wrote his book about the Spanish peopl: “It is intended as an introduction to the modern Spanish bullfight and attempts to explain that spectacle both emotionally and practically. It was written because there was no book which did this in Spanish or in English. ”

Ernest started writing fiction again in 1933 and he published “Winner Take Nothing” The book had 14 stories including “A Clean Well Lighted Place,” “Fathers and Sons,” and “A Way You’ll Never Be. ” Since it was put out in the Depression it did alright, but it could have done better. In 1933 the Hemingway family and their friend Charles Thompson went to Africa to go hunting. After he read about Teddy Roosevelt going to Africa, Hemingway wanted to go too. Pauline’s Uncle Gus gave them a $25,000 dollar loan do they could go. He stayed there for three months. In 1935 he published Green Hills of Africa.

That was about what he did in africa. It was a decent book, but people didn’t really like it. In the book he was talking about people who was supposed to be his friends and that made him seem like he was insensitive. He made himself look good, and others look bad. He even had Charles Thompson in it bad. Book critics talked about him a lot. Even though it wasn’t really liked, the description of Africa painted a iridescent mind picture of Africa. But his trip didn’t go to waist anyway because he did get to write better stories like “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.

The books were like the opposite of Green Hills of Africa. The character in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” was lazy, rude, and rich. And in the other story the man shot his wife, so that was different. A lot of times Ernest didn’t really tell the truth, or he hyped it up to be something that it wasn’t. What was supposed to Hemingway’s life was a lot of times his fiction books. For example: Ernest’s injuries were a lot like Frederic Henry’s in A Farewell To Arms rather than the biographies you see today.

A Farewell to Arms tells how Frederic fought with the Italian people in the war, and when he was hit by a mortar shell, he carried a hurt soldier through machine gun fire to the field hospital, and how he refused to get help until others were got help before him. So really, Ernest’s life was in his fiction. In March 1937 Hemingway went to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance (Griffin 41). This caused some problems for his marriage. Ernest had met a Martha Gellhorn and they had a secret affair for four years before Ernest divorced Pauline.

Ernest supported communism and Pauline supported the other side of the war because they were catholic. Martha and Ernest traveled together a lot becuase she was a writer too. They would married in 1940. Eventually the loyalist movement failed and the Franco led rebels won the war and installed a dictatorial government in the spring of 1939. Even though his side lost the war he used his experiences there to later write For Whom the Bell Tolls, a play titled “The Fifth Column” and some other short stories. After he got back from Spain, him and his new wife moved to Cuba and finished it in 1940.

The book was popular, and people liked it, even the critics. The book was voted the best novel of the year by the Pulitzer Prize committee, but was vetoed because of politics by the president of Columbia University, so they didn’t even give a prize that year. The book sold over 500,000 copies in just six months, and people still buy it today. During the 1940’s he worked on novels Islands In The Stream and The Garden Of Eden. These two weren’t published while he was still living. In between he would also talk about World War II. During this time he divorced his Martha to marry his fourth wife, Mary Welsh.

After his work covering the Spanish Civil War and his work on For Whom the Bell Tolls, he covered the Chinese-Japanese war in 1941. He wrote dispatches about the war for PM Magazine (Meyers 68). He didn’t really like the trip so he was ahppy when he got to go back to Cuba. He didn’t stay there for a long time because he got to go on a undercover mission to hunt down German submarines in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Cuba. Him and his friends got together with some professionals and turned his boat into a sub catcher. They called themselves the “Crook Factory.

Nothing ever came of their sub hunts except for them fishing and drinking together. In the spring of 1944 Hemingway finally decided to got to Europe to report about the war and the war’s effects on England. When he was there he got into a car accident, but it was his fault because he was driving drunk. Ernest spent his time observing the war, and he wanted to write a book about the war, but that never happened. Hemingway returned to America in 1946. The only book he wrote about the war was Across the River and Into the Trees. It talks about a general who was demoted after a bad battle was blamed on him.

Then it turns into a love story. Because Hemingway had a good reputation, Scribner’s ran 75,000 copies of Across the River and Into the Trees in 1950 after it had already appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in previous issues of the same year. Some book critics didn’t like it, but others thought it was pretty good. The captious critics were waiting for another book like For Whom the Bell Tolls. Many of the critics were bumptious and full of narcissism, and because of that they were mean sometimes. In September of 1952 The Old Man and the Sea appeared in Life magazine, selling over 5 million copies (Reynolds 14).

The next week Scribners rolled out the first hardcover edition of 50,000 copies and they got sold real fast too. The book was a great success for the first time since For Whom The Bell Tolls in 1940. The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953. He used the money to go to Europe and Africa. While he and Mary was on a airplane tour of Africa the pilot, dove to avoid a flock of birds and hit a telegraph wire. The plane had to amke a crash landing. After a boat ride across Lake Victoria they took another flight in a de Haviland Rapide, this time piloted by Reginald Cartwright.

Heading toward Uganda the plane barely got off the ground before crashing and catching fire. Ernest used his head to break through the main door. The crash had injured Ernest more than a lot of people would know about. Even though he survived the crashes and lived his injuries was going to catch up to him. Even though he was a little hurt, Ernest and Mary traveled on to Venice and then headed back to Cuba. On October 28, 1954 Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but he couldn’t go to Sweden to get his reward (Reynolds 17).

He sent a letter to accept his award. In 1959 Life magazine worked with Hemingway to write a short article about two of Spain’s best matadors. The story was too long so he asked another writer named A. E. Hotchner to help him make it shorter. The magazine wasn’t to happy with how long it was, but they published the article as “The Dangerous Summer” in three parts in 1960. That was Ernest’s last work to be published. Ernest became a alcoholic after this time. There was a control in his writing that hadn’t been evident in a long time.

Also in 1960, and moved to Ketchum, Idaho where he and Mary had a house waiting for him with his wife Mary. In the fall of 1960 Ernest flew to Minnesota and was admitted to the Mayo Clinic to see a allenist for treatment of severe depression disguised as high blood pressure. The only therapeutic treatment the Mayo Clinic gave Ernest, was electro shock therapy, and that caused him aphasia and memory loss. Without that he couldn’t really write anymore. Hemingway spent the first half of 1961 fighting his depression, paranoia, and biliousness seeing enemies at every turn and telling people he would commit suicide.

On July 2, 1961 Hemingway got a gun from a closet in the basement, went upstairs to a spot near the entrance-way of the house and shot himself in the head. Suicide is what sadly ended the life of Ernest Hemingway, but this was something commn in his family (Baker 114). Several members of the Hemingway family committed suicide. His father, grandfather, sister, and great grand daughter all committed suicide. Even more distant relatives committed suicide too. Carrying the Hemingway name was baleful.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.